Decompressive craniectomy and brain death prevalence and mortality: 8-year retrospective review

C. Pereyra, L. Benito Mori, P. Schoon, D. Violi, P. Jacintho, G. Segui, D. Losio, M. Lugaro, G. Benavent, M. Prieto, J. Strati, G. Diaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Decompressive craniectomy (DC) is a surgical practice that has been used since the late 19th century. The cerebral blood flow increase after the performance of a DC can delay and even prevent the development of cerebral circulatory arrest and brain death (BD). We aimed to determine the prevalence of BD, the use of DC, and the evolution to BD with versus without DC. This retrospective, observational, cross-sectional study was performed in a single high-intensity center in Argentina from January 2003 to December 2010. Inclusion criteria were all patients with Glasgow Coma Score of at most 7 on admission or during their stay in the intensive care units. Exclusion criteria were patients with incomplete data. In cases of death, we assessed whether they fulfilled BD criteria or if the cause of death was a cardiac arrest (CA). The 698 patients considered for analysis showed a 60% (n = 418) global mortality rate. The causes were: CA (n = 270); BD (n = 108) and others considered to be "undefined," namely not assessed completely for the diagnosis of BD (n = 40). According to diagnosis category, traumatic brain injury (TBI) was largest (nearly 50%). The DC group (n = 206) showed significant differences regarding sex and diagnosis category versus no DC group. Mortality was significantly lower in this group (48% versus 65%, P <.001). No significant differences were observed comparing causes of death (CA, BD, or undefined). The use of DC did not influence the frequency of BD development (24% versus 26%, P =.72). The average DC rate was 30% and of BD 16%. The prevalence of DC and better survival were recorded compared with subjects without DC. The prevalence of BD was lower than expected in accordance with national registries; however, among our group, DC did not seem to modify the evolution to BD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2181-2184
Number of pages4
JournalTransplantation proceedings
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Transplantation


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